How To Make Your Text Follow A Path In After Effects


Hey everyone, this is Owen with Motion Array and in this tutorial I’ll be showing you how to align text to a path in After Effects. Alright let’s get started.

How To Make Your Text Follow A Path In Adobe After Effects

This text has been transcribed from the video for optimal reading

Begin by making a new composition that’s 1920x1080, 29.97. Add a new solid (Layer > New > Solid) and name it “Background”. With the background layer selected go to Effects > Generate > Gradient Ramp. In the Gradient Ramp settings change the start color to a light, pale yellow and the end color to a darker version of that yellow. Move the start of the ramp to 960, 540 and the end of the ramp to 960, 1700. Change the Ramp Shape to Radial Ramp. Then change the Ramp Scatter to 100. Now you should have a nice background that is vignetted at the edges. 

Use the type tool create a new text layer and type out whatever you want your layer to say. With the text layer selected, use the pen tool to draw out the path you want the text layer to align to. Twirl down the text options of the layer to get to Path Options and under Path, choose the mask you just drew. You may need to adjust your text size and tracking at this point to make sure it still looks good. The cool thing about having your text aligned to a path is that you have some new properties to play with under path options. First and Last Margin allow you to move your text along the path which allows for some unique animations. If you slide your First Margin value into the negative values you can have your text start at the beginning of the path or even past that. You can then set a keyframe and move down your timeline and change the First Margin to a higher value and then you’ll have an animation of the text sliding along the path. 

On top of all this, you can also use text animators to help add even more interest. In this case, I’ve dawn a path that’s roller coaster-esque. I want the letters of the word to scrunch together as the word comes to a pause and then stretch back out as it starts back up again. The first thing to do is switch the type layer to right justified. Set a keyframe for Last Margin so the text sits all the way to the left of the path. At frame 45 set another keyframe for the Last Margin where you’d like it to pause. Go to frame 75 and set another keyframe for Last Margin with the same value. Then set a keyframe at frame 120 for Last Margin so that the type is all the way to the right of the path or wherever you want it to end. Easy ease the Last Margin keyframes at frame 45 and 75. In the text add menu, add Tracking to create a new animator. Set a keyframe for Tracking Amount at frame 10 with a value of 0. At frame 37, change that value to -15. Set another keyframe at frame 75 for -15, and then at frame 120 set the value back to 0. Easy ease the keyframes at frame 10 and 75. Option click on the stopwatch for Tracking Amount and paste in the following expression:

amp = .15;
freq = 2.0;
decay = 5.0;
n = 0;
time_max = 4;
if (numKeys > 0){
n = nearestKey(time).index;
if (key(n).time > time){
if (n == 0){ t = 0;
t = time - key(n).time;
if (n > 0 && t < time_max){
v = velocityAtTime(key(n).time - thisComp.frameDuration/10);
value + v*amp*Math.sin(freq*t*2*Math.PI)/Math.exp(decay*t);

This is the “inertia” expression, which will give the animation some bounce. That should complete the look for this roller coaster text!

Well, that concludes this tutorial. I hope you found it helpful, if you did, please give us a thumbs up and if you’d like to see more tutorials please go ahead and subscribe because we’re making new ones all the time.  I hope you guys found it helpful.  If you did, we’ve got lots of other Premiere Pro tutorialsAfter Effects tutorials and filmmaking tutorials!

Thanks for watching and see you in the next video.

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